The San Diego Padres announced in a press release today that 26-year-old outfield Jabari Blash will be sent back to the Seattle Mariners in return for $25,000. Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the December 2015 Rule 5 draft and subsequently traded to San Diego in the Yonder Alonso deal, Blash would have had to remain on the Padres’ 25-man roster for the entire 2016 season.
So far this spring, Blash has hit .204/.339/.469 with one double, four home runs, and 10 RBI in major-league camp. Just yesterday, Blash went 4-for-5 with a pair of home runs and two doubles in an exhibition game against the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas.
“Obviously, his batting average is just not good enough to justify him making the major-league roster,” remarked Padres manager Andy Green on Friday. “We’ve come a long way with analytics in baseball in recent years, but we all know that batting average remains the ultimate factor in determining a player’s value.”
With Blash out of contention for the Padres’ Opening Day roster, general manager A.J. Preller has a spot to fill in his outfield before San Diego takes the field against the Los Angeles Dodgers to open their season on Monday.
“Right now, we’re exploring some external options for our fourth outfield spot,” Preller said in an interview with the media on Friday morning. “I believe that out club lacks some veteran leadership, so we’ve been in contact with Adam LaRoche‘s agents. We think that Drake LaRoche would be a valuable leader to have in the clubhouse on a day-in, day-out basis,” Preller noted.
Preller continued to say that finances we also a factor in the decision to return Blash to Seattle. “With Matt Kemp and James Shields sucking over $40 million a year from our club, we need to save money any way we can. This $25,000 that we’re getting from the Mariners should really help our organization financially,” Preller remarked.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto seems more than pleased to get Blash back in the mix of things in Seattle. “I mean, seriously, Leonys Martin starting Opening Day in center field? That sounds like a bad April Fools joke.”